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BYU undefeated in Mountain Region

By Whitney Weekes

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 10 2012 10:45 p.m. MST

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Topping No. 46 New Mexico, 5-2, Saturday, the No. 40 BYU men’s tennis team remained undefeated in the Mountain Region for its third year in a row.

“The guys were aware of what we were striving to accomplish,” BYU men’s tennis coach Brad Pearce said. “It was our last match in regional play this year. They embraced what was at stake and I’m so proud of our guys and how they fight for each other and prepare like professionals.”

The Cougars (10-5) extend their win streak to seven matches with their victory over former Mountain West Conference opponent New Mexico (12-5). The win was BYU's second this season over a ranked opponent.

Junior Spencer Smith and freshman Francis Sargeant jumped out early for the BYU, only allowing Jadon Phillips and Matthew Neeld one game in their 8-1 victory on Court 2.

The Lobos evened the doubles score with an 8-5 win over freshman Keaton Cullimore and senior Michael Eraso on Court 3.

Senior Georgy Batrakov and sophomore put up another win in their seven-match winning streak, edging out New Mexico’s Conor Berg and Ben Dunbar 8-6 on Court 1 to capture the doubles point for the Cougars.

BYU continued momentum into singles, taking the first two matches on courts 1 and 3. Batrakov defeated Phillips in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, before Smith took a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Berg.

New Mexico answered with two match wins of its own over Kawka and Sargeant on courts 2 and 5, respectively.

Eraso clinched the win for the Cougars for the third match in a row, with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Mads Hegelund on Court 6. Cullimore widened the margin, defeating Samir Iftikhar, 7-5, 6-4, on Court 4.

“I am especially pleased with another gutty effort on Michael Eraso’s part to clinch the match,” Pearce said. “Spencer Smith did an absolutely terrific job on Court 3 and had a dominating doubles performance alongside Francis Sargeant. Georgy Batrakov played a great match and Keaton came off with a nice win. Spencer and Georgy showed a lot of great leadership. It was a great team effort.”

BYU kicks off its inaugural season of West Coast Conference play March 23 at Santa Clara.

No. 40 Brigham Young University 5, No. 46 University of New Mexico - 2

Singles competition 1. BATRAKOV, Georgy (BYU) def. PHILLIPS, Jadon (UNM) 6-2, 6-2; 2. DUNBAR, Ben (UNM) def. KAWKA, Patrick (BYU) 6-3, 6-4; 3. SMITH, Spencer (BYU) def. BERG, Conor (UNM) 6-2, 6-4; 4. CULLIMORE, Keaton (BYU) def. IFTIKHAR, Samir (UNM) 7-5, 6-4; 5. HO, Carl (UNM) def. SARGEANT, Francis (BYU) 6-2, 6-3; 6. ERASO, Michael (BYU) def. HEGELUND, Mads (UNM) 6-4, 6-4

Doubles competition 1. BATRAKOV, Georgy/KAWKA, Patrick (BYU) def. BERG, Conor/DUNBAR, Ben (UNM) 8-6; 2. SMITH, Spence/SARGEANT, Francis (BYU) def. PHILLIPS, J./NEELD, M. (UNM) 8-1; 3. HO, Carl/HIGNETT, James (UNM) def. CULLIMORE, Keaton/ERASO, Michael (BYU) 8-5

Match Notes: Brigham Young University 10-5; National ranking No. 40 University of New Mexico 12-5; National ranking No. 46.

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,3,2,5,6,4)

Whitney Weekes works in BYU Athletic Communications as the tennis sports information director. She can be reached at tennis_sid@byu.edu.

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